Waste Connections (WCN) Rating Increased to Hold at Zacks Investment Research

Waste Connections (NYSE:WCN) was upgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “sell” rating to a “hold” rating in a research note issued on Monday.

According to Zacks, “We appreciate Waste Connections’ focus on secondary and rural markets to garner a higher local market share. It has optimal asset positioning to generate higher profitability. An experienced management team, decentralized operating strategy and financial strength remain additional tailwinds. Acquisitions have been contributing to Waste Connections’ growth. The company is consistent in rewarding its shareholders. In the past year, the company outperformed its industry growth. Despite such positives, seasonality is  likely to lower predictably in Waste Connections' revenue generation and increase operating risks. Stringent environmental, health and safety laws have been hindering the company’s operations and raising its operating costs. High debt may limit the company’s future expansion and worsen its risk profile. Foreign currency exchange rate risks is another headwind.”

A number of other equities research analysts also recently issued reports on WCN. TD Securities set a $87.00 price target on shares of Waste Connections and gave the company a “hold” rating in a research report on Wednesday, November 28th. Bank of America lifted their price target on shares of Waste Connections from $80.00 to $88.00 and gave the company a “buy” rating in a research report on Thursday, February 14th. Royal Bank of Canada lifted their price objective on Waste Connections from $85.00 to $90.00 and gave the stock an “outperform” rating in a research report on Friday, February 15th. Goldman Sachs Group upgraded Waste Connections to a “buy” rating and set a $94.00 price objective for the company in a research report on Tuesday, December 4th. Finally, ValuEngine upgraded Waste Connections from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a research report on Monday, February 4th. Two research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and nine have issued a buy rating to the company’s stock. The company has an average rating of “Buy” and a consensus target price of $88.80.

WCN stock opened at $84.67 on Monday. Waste Connections has a 12-month low of $70.28 and a 12-month high of $85.92. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.65, a current ratio of 1.27 and a quick ratio of 1.27. The company has a market cap of $22.24 billion, a PE ratio of 33.60, a P/E/G ratio of 2.88 and a beta of 0.24.

Waste Connections (NYSE:WCN) last posted its quarterly earnings results on Wednesday, February 13th. The business services provider reported $0.63 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, beating the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $0.61 by $0.02. Waste Connections had a net margin of 11.11% and a return on equity of 10.46%. The company had revenue of $1.26 billion during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $1.23 billion. During the same period last year, the firm earned $0.52 EPS. The company’s revenue for the quarter was up 9.0% on a year-over-year basis. On average, analysts forecast that Waste Connections will post 2.81 earnings per share for the current year.

Several institutional investors have recently modified their holdings of the stock. OMERS ADMINISTRATION Corp grew its stake in Waste Connections by 40.7% in the 4th quarter. OMERS ADMINISTRATION Corp now owns 115,500 shares of the business services provider’s stock worth $8,576,000 after acquiring an additional 33,400 shares during the period. Geode Capital Management LLC grew its stake in Waste Connections by 30.0% in the 4th quarter. Geode Capital Management LLC now owns 69,530 shares of the business services provider’s stock worth $5,027,000 after acquiring an additional 16,043 shares during the period. Norges Bank purchased a new stake in Waste Connections in the 4th quarter worth approximately $378,868,000. Dimensional Fund Advisors LP grew its stake in Waste Connections by 2.4% in the 4th quarter. Dimensional Fund Advisors LP now owns 142,150 shares of the business services provider’s stock worth $10,554,000 after acquiring an additional 3,311 shares during the period. Finally, FMR LLC grew its stake in Waste Connections by 37.3% in the 4th quarter. FMR LLC now owns 2,299,479 shares of the business services provider’s stock worth $170,713,000 after acquiring an additional 625,254 shares during the period. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 83.02% of the company’s stock.

About Waste Connections

Waste Connections, Inc provides waste collection, transfer, disposal, and recycling services in the United States and Canada. The company operates through six segments: Southern, Western, Eastern, Canada, Central, and Exploration and Production (E&P). It offers collection services to residential, commercial, municipal, industrial, and E&P customers; landfill disposal services; and recycling services for various recyclable materials, including compost, cardboard, mixed paper, plastic containers, glass bottles, and ferrous and aluminum metals.

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